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Gayle storm blows away Khulna

  • Published at 02:05 pm December 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:16 pm December 8th, 2017
Gayle storm blows away Khulna
Rangpur Riders opener Chris Gayle hammered a blistering unbeaten century to knock Khulna Titans out of BPL 2017 following their eight-wicket win in the Eliminator at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Friday. Chasing a challenging 168, Rangpur soared past their target within 15.2 overs, thanks to Gayle’s brilliant innings of 126 off just 51 balls. The West Indian power-hitter smashed 14 sixes, a record in BPL history, and half a dozen fours in his dominating innings as he unsettled the Khulna bowling attack. Rangpur lost only two wickets – opener Sohag Gazi (one) and Brendon McCullum (nought) - but Gayle was in destructive mood to seal victory for his team. Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Mithun was the other not out batsman at the crease on 30 off 36 deliveries. Seamer Jofra Archer took two wickets for Khulna conceding 30 runs. Earlier, Rangpur captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza elected to field. Youngster Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Australia’s Michael Klinger started off the innings for Khulna and the opening wicket stand scored 21 runs in four overs. Nazmul was the first batsman to be dismissed after making 15 off 16 balls. Captain Mahmudullah came out to bat after Khulna lost their second wicket on 34 and the skipper played a little cameo to lift the run rate. Mahmudullah stayed in the middle for only six balls but smashed two fours and as many sixes during that period. However, he played one shot too many in the end as his short yet brilliant innings ended in the sixth delivery that he faced. He tried to clear the long on boundary against Rangpur spinner Nahidul Islam only to gift a catch to Gazi. Klinger (21 off 26 balls) and No 5 batsman Ariful Haque (29 off 30 balls) exhibited some handful contributions to enable Khulna past the 100-run mark. Stumper-batsman Nicholas Pooran and the West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite then made a quickfire 33-run partnership at the end. Pooran got out after being trapped in front against a Lasith Malinga slower full toss for 28 off 22 balls. Brathwaite played his natural game and scored 25 off nine balls with three boundaries and a sixer. Eventually, Khulna scored 167 for the loss of six wickets in their stipulated 20 overs. Sri Lanka’s Malinga took two wickets for Rangpur, conceding 49 runs, while Mashrafe was wicketless but bowled economically as he gave away only 23 runs in his quota of four overs. BRIEF SCORE Rangpur Riders 171/2 in 15.2 overs (Gayle 126*, Mithun 30*) beat Khulna Titans 167/6 (Ariful 29, Pooran 28) by eight wickets   WHAT THEY SAID Mahmudullah, Khulna Titans captain Everyone knows this type of batting from Chris Gayle. It’s like “Gayle storm”. We were not able to bowl in good areas. We knew, if Gayle becomes set in the middle, then he can be powerful. We thought if we could take another wicket, then maybe we had a chance. It was a good batting track. Credit goes to Rangpur Riders. Unfortunately we did not perform well with the ball. Batting was good from us but bowling was not perfect. Actually when Gayle plays that kind of innings then bowlers have very limited chance out there. Gayle proved that once again. We are not considering ourselves unlucky as we had to face such innings from Gayle. Everyone knows how destructive he can be when he gets set. It’s really tough against Gayle to concede less runs when he gets set. We were not able to take his wicket early, probably that’s why we lost. We, Khulna Titans, were a young team. Personally I believe we had a balanced team. We were confident that we can go to the final. Unfortunately that did not happen. Afif [Hossain], [Nazmul Hossain] Shanto played well as youngsters. Fielding was good throughout the tournament. Overall I am happy as a captain. Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Rangpur Riders captain We are still searching the right combination for our team as Sohag Gazi was sent to open the innings. We thought we can afford an extra batsman later if Gazi opens the innings. Right combination is important for any team. I think our bowlers played really well throughout the tournament. Otherwise it could have been difficult to reach here. I think we were lucky that Gayle played such an outstanding innings for us. We lost two early wickets. So if Gayle got out early as well then it could have been difficult for us. He played two fifty-run innings’ in the tournament before [Friday]. He always remains calm and relaxed in the dressing room whether he is getting runs or not. In these eight-10 matches I never saw him get nervous. I am lucky that Gayle scored two centuries under my captaincy. One was for Dhaka Gladiators in 2013 and the other one was [Friday]. It’s obviously an advantage as a captain when you have a big hitter like Gayle in your team. Wicket was good for both the teams. There were no odd bounces. Both teams batted well. Although Gayle single-handedly won the match for us, the execution of plan was good from us.
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